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Patriot Box Office Media Player Review

Conclusion

The Patriot Box Office media player appliance is by far the most capable video player we’ve currently tested.  It can connect up to practically any hosting device you can think of, from local devices to UPNP servers and just about any networked device.  It does lack NetFlix and YouTube capability, but this may be coming.  The fact that this device can output 1080p and consume under 10 watts of power with all the bells and whistles enabled is simply amazing.

There is no wireless networking option out of the box, and adding this feature will cost you a USB port. Video quality was supurb, but of course that depends greatly on the quality of the video file.  The unit plays full 1080p content without a hiccup, and fast-forward other navigation is almost instantaneous.

The user interface is the only serious flaw with this device, which has no pizzaz at all.  No animation, thumbnails, or status indicators that you expect from a high-quality media center device such as the PS3 or HTPC interface.  This usability issue could greatly impact if the whole family will be able to use the device.  Ask yourself if you really want to be called away every time the kids want to watch a movie?  Otherwise the Box Office does its job well, as it is extremely functional, barely sips electricity, and plays just about any media format you can throw its way.  All of this and the player costs under $100.

REPORT CARD : Patriot Box Office Media Player
category rating comments
Quality 4 Video and audio quality is great.  Hardware quality also appears rock-solid.  The interface needs some work, though.
Innovation 3 Kudos for giving birth to a product that addresses the lines between an appliance and HTPC, but the interface needs a lot more work
Performance 5 It totally gets the job done and plays just about anything
Installation 5 Very easy to get up and going, regardless of your Home Theater setup
Value 5 It may lack polish, but it gets the job done, and for far less than the competition
FINAL VERDICT: 4 out of 5 stars
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Alan is a web architect, stand-up comedian, and your friendly neighborhood English Nazi. You can stalk him on the Interwebs via Google+, Facebook and follow his ass on Twitter @ocmodshop.

7 Comments

  1. Pingback: HTPC vs Consoles, Boxee, XBMC, WMC?—OCmodshop.com

  2. Kyle

    December 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    From an external USB DVD Drive, you can play any file you can play on the device itself, just as if it was removable storage, but you can play DVDs, with DVD file structure, as long as it does not have the anti-piracy stuff on them, they will play DVDs that were copied using DVDFab and such.

  3. Alan

    June 20, 2011 at 1:14 am

    @Rae: I'm not sure if you can play media from an existing PBO, but given the existing peer options you should be able to do it. If not, then use a USB hard drive or use a central PC or NAS as a media server.

  4. Alan

    June 20, 2011 at 1:14 am

  5. Rae

    June 20, 2011 at 1:14 am

    Do you know if you can create or access playlists on one PBO via either UPNP or NET from a second PBO that has the USB HD attached to it? Obviously, I don't want to have to have two hard drives with media
    content doubled on both machines. But I'd like to be able to set it up so that several video files will play back to back and repeat. Thanks!

  6. Alan

    June 20, 2011 at 1:14 am

    That's right… a physical DVD movie will not play like it does in a DVD player. If you have an .ISO image it will. If you put in a DVD with Divx files on it, they will play just fine.

  7. dlb

    June 20, 2011 at 1:13 am

    According to the review, standard DVDs will NOT play via a USB DVD drive, only ISOs. Does this mean that the DVD has to have the actual ISO file, or it has be the image contained within the ISO? What if a a data DVD has several DivX AVI files on it? What about VCDs? Will this unit play VCDs via a USB DVD drive?

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